Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

02/25/2010 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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Audio Topic
08:10:12 AM Start
08:10:52 AM Confirmation Hearing(s): State Commission for Human Rights, Board of Parole, and Alaska Public Offices Commission (apoc)
08:57:15 AM HB289
09:09:16 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
Adjutant General Thomas Katkus,
Commissioner, Dept. of Military &
Veterans' Affairs;
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
State Commission for Human Rights;
Board of Parole; Personnel Board;
Alaska Public Offices Commission
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 289 EXEC ETHICS: LEGAL FEES/FAMILY TRAVEL TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 289(STA) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                       February 25, 2010                                                                                        
                           8:10 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bob Lynn, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Paul Seaton, Vice Chair                                                                                          
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
Representative Pete Petersen                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
State Commission for Human Rights                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Lester C. Lunceford - Whittier                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Board of Parole                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Richard O. Larson - Palmer                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Alaska Public Offices Commission                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Elizabeth Johnston Hickerson - Anchorage                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Kathleen J. King - Anchorage                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 289                                                                                                              
"An Act authorizing state agencies  to pay private legal fees and                                                               
costs incurred by persons exonerated  of alleged Alaska Executive                                                               
Branch Ethics  Act violations;  allowing certain  public officers                                                               
and former  public officers  to accept  state payments  to offset                                                               
private  legal fees  and costs  related to  defending against  an                                                               
Alaska  Executive  Branch  Ethics  Act  complaint;  and  creating                                                               
certain  exceptions   to  Alaska  Executive  Branch   Ethics  Act                                                               
limitations on the  use of state resources to provide  or pay for                                                               
transportation of  spouses and children  of the governor  and the                                                               
lieutenant governor."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 289(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Personnel Board                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Dr. Keith J. Hamilton - Soldotna                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner, Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Adjutant General Thomas Katkus,                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - REMOVED FROM AGENDA                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 289                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EXEC ETHICS: LEGAL FEES/FAMILY TRAVEL                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) GRUENBERG                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
01/15/10       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/15/10                                                                               

01/19/10 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS

01/19/10 (H) STA, JUD, FIN 02/23/10 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106 02/23/10 (H) Heard & Held 02/23/10 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/25/10 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106 WITNESS REGISTER LESTER C. LUNCEFORD, Appointee State Commission for Human Rights Whittier, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee to the State Commission for Human Rights. R. OLE LARSON, Appointee Board of Parole Palmer, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee to the Board of Parole. ELIZABETH JOHNSTON HICKERSON, Appointee Alaska Public Offices Commission Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee to the Alaska Public Offices Commission. KATHLEEN KING, Appointee Alaska Public Offices Commission Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee to the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC). JUDY BOCKMON, Assistant Attorney General/State Ethics Attorney Opinions, Appeals, & Ethics Civil Division (Anchorage) Department of Law Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Explained the need for a proposed amendment to Amendment 1 to HB 289. ACTION NARRATIVE 8:10:12 AM CHAIR BOB LYNN called the House State Affairs Standing Committee meeting to order at 8:10 a.m. Representatives Seaton, Johnson, Wilson, Gruenberg, Petersen, and Lynn were present at the call to order. ^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S): STATE COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, BOARD OF PAROLE, AND ALASKA PUBLIC OFFICES COMMISSION (APOC) CONFIRMATION HEARING(S) STATE COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS BOARD OF PAROLE ALASKA PUBLIC OFFICES COMMISSION (APOC) 8:10:52 AM CHAIR LYNN brought before the committee the appointments of Lester C. Lunceford to the State Commission For Human Rights, Richard O. Larson to the Board of Parole, and Elizabeth Johnston Hickerson and Kathleen J. King to the Alaska Public Offices Commission. [The committee packet contains biographical information on all four appointees.] 8:11:44 AM LESTER C. LUNCEFORD, Appointee, State Commission for Human Rights, said he has served as commissioner for seven years, and during that time has also served as the mayor of the City of Whittier. He relayed that he also works as a real estate manager for the Alaska Railroad Corporation. Commissioner Lunceford expressed pride in the opportunity he has had in sitting on the Human Rights Commission. He stated his firm belief in the fight against discrimination in the work place, and he said he would like to continue that work if the legislature would allow him to do so. 8:14:14 AM MR. LUNCEFORD, in response to Chair Lynn, said the most typical complaint addressed by the commission is age and race discrimination in the work place. He outlined the process by which the commission considers cases, and he said the commission serves mostly as a panel of judges that hear appeals. In response to Representative Wilson, he offered his understanding that the newest member of the commission has been serving a little over a year, while most others have served between three to eight years. 8:17:13 AM MR. LUNCEFORD, in response to Representative Gruenberg, said he does not know exactly how many cases have been pending for a long time, but he knows they exist. He explained that there are many processes involved in an investigation, which means it is not uncommon for a case to take 5-6 years. 8:19:40 AM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG emphasized that this issue is of great concern to many legislators who are trying to find out why the cases are taking so long. 8:22:22 AM MR. LUNCEFORD expressed appreciation of the legislators' concerns, and he noted that an ongoing review is in progress to determine how the system can be more efficient and how the Office of the Governor, as well as the legislature, can be of help in reducing the time it takes to complete cases. In response to Chair Lynn, Commissioner Lunceford said he would welcome a phone call any time to discuss the matter further. 8:24:01 AM R. OLE LARSON, Appointee, Board of Parole, offered his background. He said he has been a professional in the correctional field for 29 years, having begun work with juvenile delinquents and then working with adults. He said he has been retired for five years and serves on the Matanuska/Susitna School District Board. He said he has continued public serves since retired, and while working, he took as much training as possible to keep up on the latest in correctional theory. 8:26:37 AM ELIZABETH JOHNSTON HICKERSON, Appointee, Alaska Public Offices Commission, said she is presently the chair of the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC). She introduced some people in the room affiliated with APOC. She said APOC has no backlog in its cases. She said the commission is attempting to upgrade its electronic filing system. She opined that APOC serves the public better than ever, has tremendous training for lobbyists and candidates, and has an excellent staff. Ms. Hickerson said she has been an attorney in Alaska since 1981 and has worked in several agencies. In response to Chair Lynn, she expounded upon her experience, stating that as a lawyer she has worked in conjunction with the legislature, the attorney general, utilities, agriculture, airports, and insurance. She said she has done a lot of work on regulations, representing the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA). 8:31:07 AM MS. HICKERSON, in response to Chair Lynn, listed some of the common complaints that are addressed by APOC, including: violations of statute, failure to report, and inappropriate contributions. She said complaints can be found by individuals or APOC can initiate its own proceeding. She stated that the most serious complaints result from situations in which the public feels it has been mislead. 8:32:55 AM MS. HICKERSON, in response to Representative Petersen, said the [U.S.] Supreme Court made it clear that corporations and labor unions can make independent expenditures on behalf of a candidate, but Alaska does has no statute or regulation addressing what type of disclosure requirements have to be made. She opined, "The legislature needs to do something this session, otherwise there will be no rules." She explained that APOC does not have the sufficient legal authority to draft regulations, but the legislature has the ability to enact legislation that will clarify for APOC what the rules are. 8:34:09 AM CHAIR LYNN said he anticipates legislation addressing this issue will be presented this session, and he said such legislation would be made a priority for the committee. 8:36:19 AM MS. HICKERSON said APOC would leave the decision making to the legislature in this regard, but would provide information regarding fiscal impact. 8:37:15 AM REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said that a corporation or labor union making independent expenditures on behalf of candidates would indicate coordination, which would be a campaign contribution, and he said he does not think Ms. Hickerson meant to say that. MS. HICKERSON confirmed that Representative Seaton is correct. She clarified that she was speaking of independent expenditures "addressing a candidate" - not "coordinated." 8:37:58 AM REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said he would like APOC to offer input regarding implementation, not regarding policy, because it is important for the legislature to know what the commission's ability is regarding electronic reporting and disclosure. [Chair Lynn passed the gavel to Vice Chair Seaton.] 8:40:58 AM KATHLEEN KING, Appointee, Alaska Public Offices Commission, said she was appointed to the commission one year ago. She said she has spent 19 years as a state employee, working primarily for the Office of the Attorney General and the Alaska Court System. She relayed that she is currently working as a technical writer for the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. She proffered that it is her researching and writing abilities that have given her the ability to put on paper what is agreed to orally. Commissioner King said she enjoys the melding of individual ideas and the focus on doing what is best for the public. She stated that her greatest concern - and the reason why she wanted to serve on the commission - is that the public be provided with the ability to decipher what is going on behind the scenes and know information that should be disclosed. 8:42:51 AM MS. KING, in response to Vice Chair Seaton, explained that "institutional review board certification" is given when someone has completed training regarding what can be said to people and what kind of disclosures have to be made. It is an ethical review related to how to treat people when trying to extract information from them. In response to another question by Vice Chair Seaton, she said there is still room for improvement for APOC; certain improvements are in process, but take time. 8:46:05 AM MS. KING, in response to Representative Johnson, said she thinks APOC would benefit from stronger language in statutes, and regulations need to be overhauled to match existing statutory authority. REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON emphasized that he would like input from APOC regarding recent [U.S.] Supreme Court issues. MS. KING noted that APOC has an appointment to speak with Representative Lynn tonight. 8:47:57 AM VICE CHAIR SEATON reiterated his desire to hear suggestions from APOC regarding improvements to the commission that could be made through legislation. [Vice Chair Seaton passed the gavel back to Chair Lynn.] 8:51:59 AM MS. HICKERSON, in response to Representative Gruenberg, clarified that APOC has regulatory authority given to it by the legislature, but cannot make regulations on a statute that does not exist. The aforementioned [U.S.] Supreme Court decision changed that, but APOC does not have any requirements "to make them file reports [or] to disclose who's making the independent expenditures." She said there are no rules in place, and a municipal election is coming up in April. 8:54:12 AM REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to advance the confirmations of Lester C. Lunceford, R. Ole Larson, Elizabeth Johnston Hickerson, and Kathleen J. King to the joint session of the House and Senate. There being no objection, the nominations of Lester C. Lunceford to the State Commission for Human Rights, R. Ole Larson to the Board of Parole, Elizabeth Johnston Hickerson to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, and Kathleen J. King to the Alaska Public Offices Commission were advanced. 8:55:29 AM REPRESENTATIVE SEATON noted that he left [Dr. Keith J. Hamilton's] name off the list when making the motion, because Dr. Hamilton had not yet been able to appear before the committee. CHAIR LYNN, in response to Representative Gruenberg, noted that Adjutant General Thomas Katkus was not able to attend this meeting and had been taken off the list to be rescheduled for a later date. The committee took an at-ease from 8:56:10 AM to 8:57:13 AM. HB 289-EXEC ETHICS: LEGAL FEES/FAMILY TRAVEL 8:57:15 AM CHAIR LYNN announced that the final order of business was HOUSE BILL NO. 289, "An Act authorizing state agencies to pay private legal fees and costs incurred by persons exonerated of alleged Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act violations; allowing certain public officers and former public officers to accept state payments to offset private legal fees and costs related to defending against an Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act complaint; and creating certain exceptions to Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act limitations on the use of state resources to provide or pay for transportation of spouses and children of the governor and the lieutenant governor." 8:57:29 AM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG, as prime sponsor of HB 289, noted that at the last bill hearing, the committee had discussed three issues. The first issue was whether the proposed legislation should be expanded in Section 3 to allow [the use of state resources to pay for] travel of a non-spouse of an executive. Representative Gruenberg said both the bill drafter and attorney general Judy Bockmon emphasized that it would be difficult to draft such language. He said he would do as the committee wished, but he advised against making that change. He said the idea for the other two amendments came from Representative Seaton. 8:59:32 AM REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to adopt Amendment 1, labeled 26- LS1304\C.1, Wayne, 2/24/10, which read as follows: Page 3, line 16: Delete "official" Insert "officially designated" There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. 9:00:01 AM REPRESENTAIVE SEATON moved to adopt Amendment 2, labeled 26- LS1304\C.2, Wayne, 2/24/10, which read as follows: Page 3, line 14: Delete "is" Insert "has been" Page 3, line 15, following "customary": Insert "at similar events" Page 3, line 19: Delete "are customary" Insert "have been customary at similar events" 9:00:32 AM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG objected for discussion purposes. 9:01:19 AM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG moved to adopt an amendment to Amendment 2, to change "at" to "for". 9:01:48 AM REPRESENTATIVE SEATON objected for discussion purposes. 9:01:59 AM JUDY BOCKMON, Assistant Attorney General/State Ethics Attorney, Opinions, Appeals, & Ethics, Civil Division (Anchorage), Department of Law, explained the need for the proposed amendment to Amendment 2. She clarified that the proposed change would take place at page 3, line 19. She said, "It seemed to me that simply for context, use of the word 'for' rather than 'at' was a better choice when the phrase starts with 'the invitation and the person's attendance'." 9:02:38 AM REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said that change seems to be stylistic, and he removed his objection. There being no further objection, the amendment to Amendment 2 was adopted. 9:03:30 AM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG removed his objection to Amendment 2, as amended. [There being no further objection, Amendment 2, as amended, was adopted.] 9:03:54 AM CHAIR LYNN, after ascertaining that there was no one else who wished to testify, closed public testimony. 9:04:06 AM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG moved to report the proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 289, Version 26-LS1304\C, Wayne, 2/22/10, as amended, with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 289(STA) was reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee. 9:09:16 AM ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the House State Affairs Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:09 a.m.

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
2-5-10 Governor Appointments HSTA Committee.pdf HSTA 2/25/2010 8:00:00 AM
Governor Appointments
01 HB 289 - Full Text.pdf HSTA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 2/25/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 289
02 HB 289 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 2/25/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 289
03 HB 289 Sectional.pdf HSTA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 2/25/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 289
04 Proposed Reg Changes.pdf HSTA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 2/25/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 289
05 Legal Opinion 2-12-10 - Exec Ethics.HB 289 pdf.pdf HSTA 2/23/2010 8:00:00 AM
HSTA 2/25/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 289
06 HB289-OOG-EO-2-19-10.pdf HSTA 2/25/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 289
07 CSHB 289 Amendment 1.pdf HSTA 2/25/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 289